32 Quirky Facts About Special Gifts People Received Throughout History

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1Abram Petrovich Gannibal

Abram Petrovich Gannibal was an African child who was kidnapped, taken to Russia and was presented as a gift for Peter the Great. The Tsar freed him and raised him as his godson. Gannibal became a Major-General and the Governor of Reval. He is the great-grandfather of Alexander Pushkin, considered the greatest Russian poet.


2. When Richard the Lionheart got married, he was busy with the Crusades, so his bride came to Cyprus for the wedding. Richard then deposed the ruler of Cyprus, claiming the island for England. Richard wrapped the ruler in gold and silver chains and presented him to the new queen as a wedding gift.


3. An English submarine named HMS Trident on a combat patrol in World War 2 accepted a Russian reindeer as a gift. The reindeer spent six weeks at sea, slept under the captain's bed, and got fat off of condensed milk. It then spent the rest of its life in an English zoo.


4. In 2002, Hayao Nakayama, Sega’s president gifted all $695 million of his own company stock to save Sega from going bankrupt due to the Dreamcast. He died shortly afterwards following an arduous battle with cancer.


5. A Mississippi-born alligator named Saturn was gifted to the Berlin Zoo in 1936. It escaped during the allied bombing in 1943. British soldiers found Saturn 3 years later and gifted him to the Soviet Union. He died at Moscow Zoo on May 22, 2020 at the age of 83.


6Jerry Cantrell

While on a hunting trip, guitarist Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains forgot that November only had 30 days, missing a scheduled performance on December 1st. The next day, he received a calendar as a gift from Columbia records.


7. The day Jimi Hendrix died, Eric Clapton had bought a left-handed Fender Stratocaster as a gift for him. He intended on presenting it during a Sly Stone concert at the Lyceum that night, but Hendrix never showed up. The next day, Clapton learned why.


8. China owns all of the pandas in the world and rents them out to other countries for $1 million a year. The only exception to this is the 2 pandas that China gifted to Mexico in the '70s but with the agreement that if they had offspring China would own them.


9. There are only 4 authentic Thai pavilions built outside of Thailand, one being in Madison, Wisconsin. It was a gift to the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the Thai government for the large Thai student population. The pavilion does not contain any screws or nails of any kind.


10. Emperor Hirohito of Japan was a huge fan of Mickey Mouse. He was given a Mickey Mouse watch as a gift during his special tour of Disneyland in 1975. For years, even on formal occasions, His Majesty was observed wearing the watch.


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11Henry Cavill

In 2000, 16-year-old Henry Cavill was an aspiring actor who had a chance encounter with Russell Crowe. Crowe sent him a gift box with a note saying "Dear Henry, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Russell." 13 years later, they starred together in “Man of Steel.”


12. Chinese Emperor Qianlong was in love with an Uyghur woman named Iparhan who naturally produced a fine fragrance from her skin. She was given as a gift to the Emperor and carefully escorted all the way to the imperial palace in Beijing, washing every day in camel's milk to preserve her mysterious fragrance.


13. Every Christmas since 1952 the US Air Force has airdropped gifts over the islands of Micronesia, making it the oldest ongoing Department of Defense mission and the longest-running humanitarian airlift in the world.


14. A struggling young Harper Lee once received one year's wages as a gift from a friend with the note: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas." She used her time off to write "To Kill a Mockingbird."


15. In 2006, Russia gifted the USA a 9/11 memorial monument, which was erected in Bayonne, New Jersey.


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16Jim Croce

Jim Croce's first album was financed by a $500 wedding gift from his parents. The money came with one condition; Jim must use it to make an album. His parent's rationale? Jim would surely fail and thereby abandon his dreams of becoming a professional musician to get a "real job."


17. For one day in 1940, a section of a hospital in Ottawa, Canada became international territory so a Dutch Princess (Princess Margriet of the Netherlands) could be born a full Dutch citizen (a requirement to be a Dutch Princess). Every year the Netherlands sends Canada a gift of tulips to show their gratitude.


18. 2 days before Christmas 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson paid a visit to Pope Paul VI where they exchanged unique gifts. While LBJ received a stunning 15th-century painting from Pope Paul VI, the pope himself received a foot-high, bronze bust of Johnson's head.


19. The Maasai tribe in Africa gave a gift of 14 cows to America after hearing about the 9/11 attacks.


20. Central Park in New York is home to a 3500-year-old Egyptian obelisk. Weighing 200 tons, it was gifted to the US in 1877 in gratitude for the US not interfering in Egyptian politics.


212005 Ferrari Enzo

Ferrari only produced 400 of their iconic 2005 Ferrari Enzo. The first 399 were sold in the public market, with the final 400th being gifted to Pope John Paul II which was then auctioned off for charity for $6M to help the victims of the 2005 tsunami in Southeast Asia.


22. Queen Elizabeth II has had a lifelong love for Corgi dogs. She was gifted her 1st Corgi, “Susan,” in 1944 for her 18th birthday. Since ascending to the throne in 1952, Queen Elizabeth had over 30 Corgis, all descendants of her 1st Corgi Susan. The last descendant died 74 years later, in 2018.


23. Ernest Hemmingway was gifted a 6-toed cat named Snow White. Snow White's 40-50 descendants still live at his Florida home. Over half of them also have 6 toes.


24. Canadians gifted a Norwegian coach over 5 tons of maple syrup for helping an Olympic Canadian cross-country skier after she broke her pole during a race.


25. Hitler admired Disney cartoons. He was delighted when Joseph Goebbels gifted him eighteen Mickey Mouse films as a Christmas present in 1937.

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